Perceptions of Crime Demonstrate Your Understanding of Media Influences on Public Perception of Crime
Fear of crime is when people believe they are more likely to be a victim of a crime as opposed to the probability of being victimized. This perception of crime is generally influenced by the media as it is the main source for knowing what is happening around us (Roberts & Indermaur, figure 4, page 9). According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the rate for has decreased over the years, however according to the survey in Roberts & Indermaur majority of respondents believed that the rate of crime in the sociality has increased. This is due to the information received to the public though media.
Media tends to display the four major categories of crime (homicide and related offences, kidnapping and abductions, unlawful entry with intent, motor vehicle theft and other theft) excessively as these types of crime are more dramatic and gains public’s awareness therefore portraying a higher risk of crime when in reality it’s the opposite. Minor crimes such as robbery and blackmail/extortion or even success stories are usually either ignored or not as widely exposed. Media also over exaggerates reports that involve elderly people being victimized as they are one of the key audiences of media.
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This has a huge effect on elderly person’s perception on crime as it significantly increases the fear of crime of this group. A great example of this is in the article, “Grandmother, 82, critical after vicious attack”, it also shows a computer based image of the offender. The images are usually the first thing people look followed by the heading before deciding whether to read the rest of the article. This article doesn’t only attract elderly women; it also attracts any grandchildren that have a grandmother living by herself, just like the victim.
Due to this elderly live in fear of being victimized therefore their perception of crime rate becomes more inaccurate as the emotional feelings take over the facts. Media doesn’t only try to just attract the audience. It also tries to plant a seed of injustice in society. This is done through writing articles that don’t have all the facts in it. For example the article “Two courts, Two sentences, Two types of justice”, and “Gang rape accused teens on bail’, these articles question the justice system and also its effects.
The first article reports that the offender that killed his victim got a lesser sentence than the person that made his victim severely disabled and the second article is about accused gang rappers being granted bail. Most of the audiences don’t actually know the whole process of the legal system, therefore since this article doesn’t convey the legal process and punishment structure; it sends the message of the legal system not being reliable therefore alter the perception of crime. Due to the lack of information provided in the media, the society overestimates crime rates and underestimates conviction of criminals.